WHEELIE bins are due to be among the options discussed by environment bosses in the New Forest at a meeting today.

Local authorities should be recycling 30 per cent of the waste collected from homes but New Forest District Council is falling short of the target by four per cent.

The authority has recruited environmental consultants White Young Green to help it meet current and future targets.

Two of the three options outlined in a report to today's meeting of the environmental review panel would involve the council spending £2.5m on the purchase of wheelie bins.

The council is the only local authority in Hampshire not to provide wheelie bins for residents. It currently operates a weekly sack collection of waste but may be forced to adopt the same system already in use across the rest of the county.

However, the issue has been controversial with many people across the Forest opposed to the introduction of wheelie bins.

Critics say they are noisy, expensive, and ugly and should not be used in an area that relies heavily on tourism.

Review panel chairman Paul Woods said: "We've got a long discussion and a tough decision to make.

"I understand that the government is likely to bring in penalties for not meeting recycling targets but I don't know when and what these will be.

"We actually have a good recycling rate and aren't the only local authority in this position. The crux of it all is to encourage more people to recycle at home."

Cllr Woods said any decision taken by the panel would have to be ratified by the council's ruling Cabinet.